14 December 2015

Canadian Citizenship Here We Come

Well, I've been here in Canada for almost 7 years. I am what you call a "permanent resident", which basically means that I can do everything (like work) but I don't have the right to vote. Of course, I could maintain that status, but I feel that if I live in a country, I should do my best to be a part of that society. I also don't want to have to redo the paperwork maintaining the status of being a permanent resident every five years.

I just took and thankfully passed my citizenship exam - 19 out of 20, not too bad. The exam wasn't terrible, everything was in the booklet that we are supposed to study from. It was really interesting studying from the booklet. It's fun to see what a country feels a new citizen should know coming into the society - distilled down, the "Discover Canada" booklet still covers 51 pages of information. Everything from the economy to the national sport of hockey. I should probably go find a study booklet for US citizenship and see what we find most important to impart to our new citizens.

As I checked out of the testing area, I spoke to the officer at the front desk- he congratulated me on a job well done and even gave me tiny Canadian flag for my efforts. He also said that I would be called to participate in the Canadian citizenship ceremony in about 2-4 months time.

At that point I'll be taking the Oath of Citizenship:
I swear (or affirm)
That I will be faithful
And bear true allegiance
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second
Queen of Canada
Her Heirs and Successors
And that I will faithfully observe
The laws of Canada
And fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Interestingly enough, the booklet gives an understanding of the oath:
In Canada, we profess our loyalty to a person who represents all Canadians and not to a document such as a constitution, a banner such as a flag, or a geopolitical entity such as a country. In our constitutional monarchy, these elements are encompassed by the Sovereign (Queen or King). It is a remarkably simple yet powerful principle. Canada is personified by the Sovereign just as the Sovereign is personified by Canada.
All nice and good, but for the proud American that I am, I admit that I cringe when I read the oath and the explanation. I'm pretty okay with pledging allegiance to Canada. In truth, it makes my life easier and I really do want to vote if I'm planning on living the rest of my life here... but to the Queen, not so much.

Funny enough, I came across an article this weekend dealing with this exact dilemma. I'll quote the whole article here.
An Israeli math professor took his oath of Canadian citizenship in Toronto last week, then immediately recanted the part about swearing allegiance to the Queen, calling it "repulsive". He pledged his loyalty to Canada and its people instead. Dror Bar-Natan, 49, was one of three residents who were part of a failed constitutional challenge to the oath that was dismissed by the Ontario Court of Appeals in 2014. But the court said new citizens are free to publicly renounce the royalty portion of the oath if they disagree with it. The University of Toronto professor, who has been in Canada for 13 years, told the citizenship judge in advance of his plans. The judge thanked him for his honesty. - Canadian Jewish News, Dec. 10, 2015
Will I renounce that part of the oath? Probably not. But it's nice to have the option. Now we just wait to get my notice to show up to get sworn in. Definitely something to look forward to.

No comments: